13 June 2010

Review: Grönholm Method

Grönholm Method
Red Stitch Actors Theatre
13 June 2010
Red Stitch

Do artists really have such a strange and limited view of the corporate world?

In the Grönholm Method four 40ish corporates arrive for a final job interview, only to find it's a group process, it's already started and at least one of them is telling porkies.

With potential employers checking Facebook pages (check your security settings now), psychological profiling of job applicants and most nine-to-fivers knowing their Myer-Briggs type (I'm an INFP), there's no doubt that getting a job these days is more than shining your shoes and smiling like a loon. And then there's all those 'pc' laws that prevent a job description listing boob size or age as the primary criteria.

Red Stitch have another script that would never have made it's way down under without this wonderful company and Jordl Galceran Ferrer's should be a gift to actors. The playwright supplies a tight and twisty plot that holds on to its secrets for as long as possible, but doesn't give the actors much to work with, as the plot pushes out the story.

The characters on the stage already have their polished work faces on and are trying to deceive each other and impress an unseen decision maker. They have no intention of ever letting down their guard and showing their real selves. Which is where the method lost me.

I wanted to see more... method. No matter how many layers and masks are being played, the cast are playing are real people and we don't see them.  All we see is mask, which leaves lots to admire, but little to care about.

I've worked in the corporate world and know that none of these candidates would have got past a first interview. Of course that's irrelevant, but I knew it because I didn't believe a thing they said or did – they never showed their real selves  – and that left me looking at actors on a stage, rather than people I believed.

And when they did reveal their true selves, they were as cliched and false as their faux-selves.  Even if there are no clues in the script, actors this good can create characters who are real. Just as all artists aren't self-absorbed, drunken and promiscuous wannabes; not all corporates are twats. Make these people real and all their play acting and testing will make Grönholm Method compulsory viewing for everyone who has ever donned a work suit and wondered if this is the life they really want to lead.

This review appears on AussieTheatre.com.

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